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Can you Say “Commitment?”

In just a few weeks, Ann’s parents will be celebrating a milestone that few others in this country will ever be able to—they will be married for 65 years.  Although it may never make the nightly news, this is a noteworthy event for numerous reasons.

They were born during the great depression and had to endure a world war before they became adults.  During their lifetime they have witnessed loved ones and people they know succumbing to Polio, the Asian flu, AIDS and of course the top 3 killers, Cancer, Heart Disease and Stroke.

Their first house cost them $13,000 and dad was making under $2 an hour when they signed the contract for that house. After 7 children, they have lived in that same house for over 54 years.

In the course of their lifetime they have seen improved plumbing, stable electricity, improved infrastructure, color TV, cable TV, TV dinners, microwave ovens, restaurants, the internet, the individual line telephone, the cordless phone, the cell phone, automobiles and much more.

They have also experienced fresh raw, unpasteurized cow’s milk delivered to their door, free-roaming chicken eggs, grass-fed cow’s meat, and vast gardens filled with large, pesticide free vegetables and fruits. They know what “canning” means, what “pure” water is and “fresh” air.

As they grew older, they didn’t have to drive an hour to work, there was little need to go “grocery” shopping since their back yard was their main supplier of food. Their children had the luxury of growing up in a small town with large backyards and many children to roam around with and play “kick the can”.  As long as we were in the house before dark, we had free access to just be kids.

As an at-home mom, she kept our tummies full, our shoes shined for church on Sunday morning, and when we were sick, she rocked us in that creaky rocking chair for as long as we needed her.

For Christmas, we each received a new pair of recently knitted slippers complete with the big pom-pom ball on each one.  The girls received new doll clothes that were knitted with beautiful, shiny yarn and we all donned new stocking caps and scarves. This was also a good time to get new underwear and socks.

They each have only one sibling left. They have buried all of their other siblings and both parents.  While their health is not perfect, they are both ambulatory, still live in their house and go to church nearly every day if there is no snowstorm that shuts down the roads.

Habits are now their best friend.  They know just what they will be eating in the morning nearly exactly the same time each day.  They know the TV shows they will be watching after they come home from church.  The mid morning nap is followed by a small lunch.  The afternoon is spent reading or working on a puzzle, followed by another nap.  After the evening meal, the TV becomes their friend unless one of the nearly 40 grandchildren stops by to see them and show off one of the new “great” grandchildren.

They are the consummate hosts and will wear themselves down to exhaustion just to make their guest feel comfortable.  They are indeed blessed with the gift of “hospitality.”

What can we learn from them?

Throughout their lives, they have learned to continue to look up.  They look up to see if the rain will keep their gardens growing so their food can continue to be harvested.  They look up to remind them of all of their loved ones who have gone before them and are paving the way for their arrival.  And they continue to look up and pray to the only One who can keep them grounded in the realization that no matter what happened to their retirement fund when the stock market crashed in the 1980’s, or when their beautiful baby girl was born full-term without life, or when their son left for Vietnam and wasn’t heard from for over 2 years, or when their little girl spent Christmas in a hospital hours away just as they had given birth to their youngest son, or when dad was let go from his job, just before he was to retire, not allowing him to obtain his full pension…no matter what happened, God is still in control.

Their commitment to each other, to their family and to God has been the greatest lesson any of us can learn from them.

We all struggle staying committed to our diets, our exercise plans, our jobs and our spouses.  Imagine, having the strength to commit to anyone or anything for 65 years. These are the unsung heroes of today.  These are the people who we should hold up to the limelight and use as role models.  They may look weathered, worn, and weary, but it is their genes that I am carrying right now and to say I am proud would be the greatest understatement.

God bless you mom and dad, for giving me the greatest gift of all—life!




  1. Amen!

  2. Wow! What an incredible read! But more than that, what an incredible legacy your parents leave! Their humble lives are truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

  3. MARY ANN LEREW July 31, 2014

    What an amazing story and testimony for your blessed Mother and Dad.
    I have used some of your products and they are all good..
    Have some of your good literature with lots of good recipes 🙂
    May God continue to bless them …

  4. Charlotte W. July 31, 2014

    What a wonderful tribute! I see many similarities in the life my own parents lived. They were married for 61 years, and saw many of the events and societal changes that your parents have seen.

    Blessings to them and to you for writing such an open, honest and heartfelt tribute.

  5. Melody Graham July 31, 2014

    Congratulations to Ann’s parents on their upcoming anniversary of 65 years. I can fully understand about the commitment you are talking about. My parents had that same kind of commitment for 74 years before Daddy went home to heaven. They lived in a small house. All people on the same road for a long time were related. Mother and Daddy worked hard inside and outside the home to provide for us. Many hours were spent growing, harvesting, and “putting up” fruits and vegetables. Their way of life was truly sacrificial.

    There is so much we can learn from our parents. My hope and prayer is that our future generations will know and appreciate the same kind of commitment.

    Best wishes to Ann’s parents as they celebrate this milestone and many, many more.

  6. Daniel C. Janz July 31, 2014

    Thank you for all the info on website! Appreciated the reminiscence about your parents lives Ann, congratulations to all. Wasn’t Willie speaking of “soles”? Much to admire about Amish lifestyle. Would it be possible to provide sample messages to use when communicating with legislators about things as FDA ruling on inflammation?

  7. Cathy Middendorf July 31, 2014

    Congratulations on your parents 65th anniversary coming up! They are a great example to todays generation. My parents celebrated their 75th anniversary last Christmas Eve! They are 97 and 96. They still live in their home and drive (barely) and go to church, grocery and out to eat occasionally. They are both in declining health and are becoming frail and unsteady on their feet, but they are generally doing well. They are an inspiration to all who know them and I am so proud of them!

  8. Janet Beck August 1, 2014

    Those are the best words I’ve read about commitment – TRUE commitment – in a long time. Ann, I could have written something very similar about my parents, family, hard work, friends and God being a part of my life as I grew up in NY state. Thank you and bless you for sharing the story of your parents’ wonderful lives with us. I, too, am proud to be a child of parents born just prior to the depression. Back then, values seemed to be so, so different than what we see all around us today. While the earthly things of this world constantly change, God never does. Thank goodness, we can count on THAT!

  9. Janet Ensminger August 1, 2014

    Ann, my parents lived almost the same life as your parents do now. We lived in a very small town in Iowa. We were poor, but we didn’t know that. We were happy. My parents had a big garden and worked very hard all their lives. There were 8 of us and I remember my mother staying up all night rocking us because some of us had ear aches quite often. I look back now and I can’t believe that my mother and dad worked so hard and still they live a long life. We didn’t stay in Iowa – We had to move to Washington DC so that my dad could get work to support his 8 children. This was during the 2nd world war. We didn’t have the garden there and it was very distressing living in a much bigger place. Then we moved to Illinois and I don’t think any of us ever really adjusted to a big city, but my parents had their garden again, but we grew up there and call that home.
    My parents have been gone for quite some time now, but I have all the memories. My father died in 1991 and my mother in 1996. They had been married for 72 years. You don’t hear that to often. My mother was 96 yrs old and my father was 95 yrs old when they died and they were very hard workers. I am 81 yrs old now and I’m trying to stay healthy. I don’t take any perscriptions and neither does my husband. I have thought about the Hallelujah diet, but do get organic most of the time and read labels. To bad we can’t grow our own foods were we live because there are so many things in food now, it scares us. I think people were happier and healthier years back. Thank you for that letter. It brought back memories.

  10. Rev. Russell Elleven August 1, 2014

    That may be one of the sweetest things I’ve read in a long time.


  11. Ann, thank you for sharing this wonderful true-life story. As I was reading it, I felt like I was reading my own life story, as my parents will be married 71 years on August 25, 2014. Everything you said sounded so familiar in my own life growing up. I long for those days when life was so simple but all we can do is look forward and thank God for all his blessings and trust in him for the future. May God bless you and your family as they celebrate this wonderful milestone. I am so thankful for the knowledge that I have received from HA.

  12. Roy and Sarah August 1, 2014

    Congratulations to your parents!!! 65 years is a wonderful accomplishment!!

  13. Wow Ann,

    What a moving and inspirational tribute to your parents’ marriage and lives! Thank you so much for sharing, as it truly blessed my husband and I as I read it aloud to him. We have been married 39 yrs. in Sept. and grateful to God for how he has blessed our marriage and family. Also grateful for hacres and all of you wonderful people who have taught and continue to teach and encourage us on how to live healthy lifestyles so we can all serve our God throughout our health filled lives!

  14. ail.comBeverly Katovitch August 17, 2014

    so well said, thanks for the inspiration to make the commitment & to trust God always

  15. Joyce Wilson-Savage August 20, 2014

    My parents are gone a long time. Reading your story inspired me. God is the only way for us all.

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